The Age Mark Russell September 3, 2014
The television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was not the way real-life crimes were solved, a jury in a murder trial has been told.
Sydney forensic pathologist Professor Johan Duflou told the Victorian Supreme Court he was no fan of the show.
“I think it’s fair to say that with a program like CSI specifically is the bane of the forensic expert witness’s life,” Dr Duflou told the jury in the trial of Paul Ta Vuong, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his girlfriend Kate Leithhead’s 12-month-old son Silas.
National Post [Canada] Mark Joseph Stern June 11, 2014
Nine days before death row inmate Earl Washington’s scheduled execution, his lawyers informed the state of Virginia that it was about to murder an innocent man. Forensic analysis of semen introduced at trial had convinced the jury that Washington, whose mental abilities matched those of a 10-year-old, had brutally raped and murdered a young woman in 1982. Washington’s lawyers uncovered evidence that the analysis was faulty. The state halted the impending execution, and following a gubernatorial pardon, Washington was released from prison in 2001. He had been there for 17 years.
How could forensic evidence, widely seen as factual and unbiased, nearly send an innocent person to his death? The answer is profoundly disturbing — and suggests that for every Earl Washington freed, untold more are sent to their deaths. Far from an infallible science, forensics is a decades-long experiment in which undertrained lab workers jettison the scientific method in favor of speedy results that fit prosecutors’ hunches. No one knows exactly how many people have been wrongly imprisoned—or executed—due to flawed forensics. But the number, most experts agree, is horrifyingly high. The most respected scientific organization in the country has revealed how deeply, fundamentally unscientific forensics is. A complete overhaul of our evidence analysis is desperately needed. Without it, the number of falsely convicted will only keep growing.
Business Insider Australia Jordan Micael Smith 1 May 2014
…The science of forensics has become so advanced that even the most diabolical criminals will inevitably come to justice. They will make a tiny mistake or leave a trace of DNA or a bloody footprint, enough for our serious-minded heroes, who fight crime not with 9 mm pistols and boring paperwork but with electron microscopes and Sherlock Holmesian deduction, to put them away for a long time. As the “Forensic Files” tagline puts it, “No Witnesses. No Leads. No Problem.”
If only the country’s real-life crime labs were half as effective.
ABC News Ross Kay 25 March 2014
It was a story that made headlines across the state. Police science officers searched a property at Gin Gin in south-east Queensland, after allegations babies had been born and buried on the property.
In such a newsworthy case, it is easy to forget the painstaking efforts that go into evidence searches of this type, and the time it takes to get any result.
Brisbane Times Nick Ralston 11 May 2013
A young woman is stabbed to death on the floor of her apartment on Sydney’s northern beaches. By the time police find the body of Rachelle Yeo inside her Curl Curl home, her alleged killer has fled, driving north to Newcastle airport.
The Conversation Ahmad Samarji 29 April 2013
In Australia, the number of education institutes offering forensic science qualifications has boomed from one university in 1994 to nearly 20 in 2005. The fact forensic science is very specialised and forensic investigations can be challenging, time-consuming and complicated is often overlooked by movie and TV show makers – and consequently students and the public at large.
TVNZ October 25, 2012
Police like to insist the reality of forensic work during crime investigations is nothing like the slick, fast process shown on US TV shows like CSI – but real life is catching up with fiction.
Crown research institute ESR, which provides forensic services to government agencies, is trying to speed up the identification of DNA found at crime scenes.